Quoting AW Pink . . .
| The feverish urge of modern evangelism is not how to promote the glory of the triune Jehovah, but how to multiply conversions. The whole current of evangelical activity during the past fifty years has taken that direction. Losing sight of God's end, the churches have devised means of their own. Bent on attaining a certain desired object, the energy of the flesh has been given free rein; and supposing that the object was right, evangelists have concluded that nothing could be wrong which contributed unto the securing of that end; and since their efforts appear to be eminently successful, only too many churches silently acquiesced, telling themselves "the end justified the means". |
Instead of examining the plans proposed and the methods adopted by the light of Scripture, they were tacitly accepted on the ground of expediency. The evangelist was esteemed not for the soundness of his message, but by the visible "results" he secured. He was valued not according to how far his preaching honored God, but by how many souls were supposedly converted under it.
Once a man makes the conversion of sinners his prime design and all-consuming end, he is exceedingly apt to adopt a wrong course. Instead of striving to preach the Truth in all its purity, he will tone it down so as to make it more palatable to the unregenerate. Impelled by a single force, moving in one fixed direction, his object is to make conversion easy, and therefore favorite passages (like John 3:16) are dwelt upon incessantly, while others are ignored or pared away. ...
It is generally recognized that spirituality is at a low ebb in Christendom, and not a few perceive that sound doctrine is rapidly on the wane, yet many of the Lord's people take comfort from supposing that the Gospel is still being widely preached and that large numbers are being saved thereby. Alas, their optimistic supposition is ill-founded and sandily grounded. If the "message" now being delivered in Mission Halls be examined, if the "tracts" which are being scattered among the unchurched masses be scrutinized, if the "open air" speakers be carefully listened to, if the "Sermons" or "Addresses" of a "soul-winning campaign" be analyzed; in short, if modern "Evangelism" be weighed in the balances of Holy Writ, it will be found wanting, lacking that which is vital to a genuine conversion, lacking what is essential if sinners are to be shown their need of a Savior, lacking that which will produce the transfigured lives of new creatures in Christ Jesus.
It is in no captious spirit that we write, seeking to make a man an offender for a ward. It is not that we are looking for perfection, and complain because we cannot find it; nor that we criticize others because they are not doing things as we think they should be done. No, no, it is a matter far more serious than that. The "evangelism" of the day is not only superficial to the last degree, but it is radically defective. It is utterly lacking a foundation on which to base an appeal for sinners to come to Christ. There is not only a lamentable lack of proportion (the mercy of God being made far more prominent than His holiness, His love than His wrath), but there is a fatal omission of that which God has given for the purpose of imparting a knowledge of sin. There is not only a reprehensible introducing of "bright singing," humorous witticisms and entertaining anecdotes, but there is a studied omission of dark background upon which alone the Gospel can effectively shine forth.
But serious indeed as is the above indictment, it is only half of it -- the negative side, that which is lacking. Worse still is that which is being retailed by the cheap-jack evangelists of the day. The positive content of their message is nothing but a throwing of dust in the eyes of the sinner. His soul is put to sleep by the devil's opiate, ministered in a most unsuspecting form. Those who really receive the "message" which is now being given out from most of the "orthodox" pulpits and platforms today, are being fatally deceived. It is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but unless God sovereignly intervenes by a miracle of grace, all who follow it will surely find that the ends thereof are the ways of death. Tens of thousands who confidently imagine that they are bound for heaven will get a terrible disillusionment when they awake in hell!